We have lawyers around here:
In 1996, while helping organise a major conference on male violence against women and girls, I met Fiona Broadfoot. Fiona had recently stopped being involved with prostitution and ran a phone line offering support to women also wishing to escape the sex trade. She told me she had “dozens” of offences for street soliciting, and we spent many hours discussing how to change the law so that prostituted women and men would be no longer treated as criminals. A group of feminists, including Broadfoot, set up a re-education scheme for punters two years later in an attempt to put the onus on the perpetrators, and launched a campaign to decriminalise those unfortunate enough to be caught up in the sex trade.
Nineteen years on, Broadfoot is finally getting close to achieving her goal. Along with five other women in the UK, she is bringing a legal challenge against the government in an attempt to expunge all the criminal records from soliciting that arise from street prostitution.
What am I missing here?
Section 18 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 amends section 5 of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. It applies to the rehabilitation periods for those convicted of loitering or soliciting for the purposes of offering services as a prostitute and sentenced to an order under section 1 of the Street Offences Act 1959. The rehabilitation period applicable to an order under section 1(2)(A) of the Street Offences Act 1959 shall be 6 months from the date of conviction for the offence in respect of which the order is made. When the order has been completed, the person subject to the order will have become a rehabilitated person under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This is with effect from 1 April 2010.
Soliciting elicits a fine, no more, so the conviction is quickly spent. I’m just dandy with it not being a crime in the first place, equally so with such a triviality (it really is all about not in the streets and offending the horses) being a minor offence and thus discharged quickly.
What I’m missing is the problem here. Is there perhaps some enhanced check where spent convictions still come up?